WORK / Papers / 2013




Title:

Structuring that which cannot be structured: A role for formal models in representing aspects of Medieval Scotland


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Full reference:

John Bradley, Michele Pasin. Structuring that which cannot be structured: A role for formal models in representing aspects of Medieval Scotland - New Perspectives on Medieval Scotland: 1093-1286 Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell and Brewer, Studies in Celtic History Series August 2013 .

Abstract:

Computing offers a bit of a paradox when it comes to historical studies. On one hand, one suspects that almost all academic historians in at least Western Europe and North America have a computer both in their office and at home and use it daily for email, word processing and for surfing the World Wide Web. However, in spite of their daily contact with the machine, they view it as having little or nothing to do with the essence of their research. Now, the fact that historians use the computer every day as a part of their research activities, but both hardly notice it and probably don’t often think that it actually affects what they do, turns out to be an interesting phenomenon that is, of course, not restricted to the doing of history. Indeed, the ability of tools such as word processing, email and the WWW to fit into the normal way of doing things so that they are almost invisible, shows an aspect to computing that is significant in its own right. However, this paper presents an example of a more prominent role for the computer in the doing of history. We focus on one of the ways in which computing obviously significantly impacts on the research: representing the product of historical research as highly structured materials in databases, and use the Paradox of Medieval Scotland (PoMS 2010) project as the prime example.